“Republicans believe in less government, not more,” he said.
At the fourth Republican debate of the 2024 presidential campaign cycle, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie took an admirable position on parents’ rights that put him at odds with much of the rest of his party.
“You do not favor a ban on trans medical treatments for minors, saying it’s a parental rights issue,” asked moderator Megyn Kelly. “How is it that you think a parent should be able to OK these surgeries—never mind the sterilization of a child—and aren’t you way too out of step on this issue to be the Republican nominee?”
“No, I’m not,” Christie replied, “because Republicans believe in less government, not more, and less involvement with government, not more involvement in people’s lives.”
He tied the issue to broader issues of parental choice: “You know what, Megyn? I trust parents. And we’re out there saying that we should empower parents in education, we should empower parents to make more decisions about where their kids go to school—I agree. We should empower parents to be teaching the values that they believe in in their homes without the government telling them what those values should be.”
He added that “every once in awhile, parents are going to make decisions that we disagree with. But the minute you start to take those rights away from parents, you don’t know that slippery slope, what rights are going to be taken away next.”
Health care for transgender children has become a political and cultural lighting rod. In fact, just moments later, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis called it child abuse and Vivek Ramaswamy declared that “transgenderism is a mental health disorder.”
But Christie is right to reject a ban. He has doctors in his corner on this one: The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that surgical treatments for transgender children should be done on a “case-by-case basis” and include “multidisciplinary input” from health professionals, the child, and the parents. And more importantly, he has freedom in his corner on this one too.
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